Wabasha Street Bridge, Saint Paul, Minnesota
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Wabasha Street Bridge
|Location of Structure:||Located over the Mississippi River.|
|Neighborhood/s:||Downtown, Saint Paul, Minnesota, West Side, Saint Paul, Minnesota|
|Saint Paul, Minnesota|
|Ramsey County, Minnesota|
The Wabasha Street Bridge is a segmental bridge that spans the Mississippi River in downtown St. Paul, Minnesota. There are actually two separate bridges, one for northbound and one for southbound traffic. The use of a concrete segmental box girder bridge provided a construction advantage because no falsework needed to be built beneath the bridge.
The bridge was built in 1996 by Lunda Construction Company and was designed by Toltz, King, Duvall, Anderson & Associates, Inc.. A large opening ceremony was planned, with bridge closed to traffic and free ice cream. Mayor Norm Coleman let loose two rehabilitated Bald Eagles, a male and a female. The planning for the event was largely carried out by the city's marketing department, under the direction of Joe Zappa.
The bridge built in 1998 replaced an earlier structure that was built in 1889. The previous bridge was an iron cantilever deck-truss bridge, which was an advanced engineering feat at the time. That bridge was listed in the National Register of Historic Places in 1989. Unfortunately, that bridge had increasing problems with repair and maintenance because of its age, and after city engineers assessed the condition of the old bridge, the decision was made to replace the bridge.
The new bridge was built with pedestrians in mind. It features 11-foot wide sidewalks, six overlooks at the pier locations, and a stairway down to Raspberry Island. The color scheme of the bridge was also planned to reflect the architectural heritage of St. Paul, with a soft buff color (the color of sandstone) to reflect the colors used in many downtown St. Paul buildings. The color of terracotta roofs in the city was used to select the color of the railings, and the green patina of the St. Paul Cathedral is echoed in the ornamental color of the overlooks.The new bridge has won several awards, including the Federal Highway Administration 1998 Excellence in Highway Design Award and the Minnesota Society of Professional Engineers 2001 Seven Wonders of Engineering in Minnesota award.
Construction of the original bridge in the 1850s was the site of one of the first strikes by construction workers in St. Paul history.
Memories and stories